Mansfield Park

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                           Mansfield Park

Rating: 4.2/5
Author: Jane Austen

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing; First edition (2014)

Language: English

Genre: Classic Fiction

ISBN-10: 8172345232

ISBN-13: 978-8172345235

Cost: Rs. 159 (Paperback), Rs. 131 (Hardcover)

Plot:

'But then I am unlike other people, I dare say.'

Fanny Price is ten years old when she is removed from the poverty of her parents' house and sent to live with her aunt and her rich cousins at Mansfield Park. Never allowed to forget her humble origins, Fanny grows up in the Mansfield household with no allies except for Edmund, her aunt's youngest son and even though she comes to possess that rare beauty which is neither vain nor weak, grounded as it is in astuteness and intelligence, she is never loved nor acknowledged by those in Mansfield Park.

When the Crawford brother and sister duo arrive from London, however, to take up residence in the neighbourhood, they set in motion a series of romantic engagements within the Mansfield mansion that lead to scandal, heartbreak and much disrepute.

And in the midst of everything must stand Fanny, protecting herself and all that she holds dear, from the wily schemes of Henry Crawford who is more than a bit of a rogue, even as she guards her heart for Edmund.

Review:

Throughout Mansfield Park, Austen explores the complex relationship between manners and morality. Austen’s view of manners is difficult to identify, in part because Austen’s characters do not clearly define what they mean when they refer to ‘manners’.

As the plot of Mansfield Park unfolds, Austen draws attention to what her characters say and how they say it. Mansfield Park is bursting with commentary on language, and Austen repeatedly highlights how characters express themselves verbally— particularly through letters. Letters hold a place of supreme importance in the story, often serving as plot catalysts.

Throughout the book, characters in Mansfield Park move between their country homes at Mansfield and the surrounding property and cities like London and Portsmouth for business and for pleasure. Throughout Mansfield Park, issues of inheritance and meritocracy recur as Austen explores how characters’ different positions in families and society affect their incomes. Austen models the inheritance system in the novel on that of real-world England in the early 1800s, when inheritance worked through the system.

Like other Jane Austen novels, Mansfield Parks observes and satirizes—the fickle hearts and courtship rituals of members of England’s genteel class as they fall in and out of love.

Mansfield Park is the third published novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1814 by Thomas Egerton. A second edition was published in 1816 by John Murray, still within Austen's lifetime. The novel did not receive any public reviews until 1821.

Adaptations:

1983: Mansfield Park, BBC series directed by David Giles, starring Sylvestra Le Touzel as Fanny Price, Nicholas Farrell as Edmund Bertram and Anna Massey as Mrs Norris.

1997: Mansfield Park, a BBC Radio 4 adaptation dramatised in three parts by Elizabeth Proud, starring Hannah Gordon as Jane Austen, Amanda Root as Fanny, Michael Williams as Sir Thomas Bertram, Jane Lapotaire as Mrs Norris, Robert Glenister as Edmund Bertram, Louise Jameson as Lady Bertram, Teresa Gallagher as Mary Crawford and Andrew Wincott as Henry Crawford.

1999: Mansfield Park, film directed by Patricia Rozema, starring Frances O'Connor as Fanny Price and Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram (he also featured in the 1983 version, playing one of Fanny's brothers). This film alters several major elements of the story and depicts Fanny as a much stronger personality and makes her author of some of Austen's actual letters as well as her children's history of England. It emphasises Austen's disapproval of slavery.

2003: Mansfield Park, a radio drama adaptation commissioned by BBC Radio 4, starring Felicity Jones as Fanny Price, Benedict Cumberbatch as Edmund Bertram, and David Tennant as Tom Bertram.

2007: Mansfield Park, a television adaptation produced by Company Pictures and starring Billie Piper as Fanny Price and Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram, was screened on ITV1 in the UK on 18 March 2007.

2011: Mansfield Park, a chamber opera by Jonathan Dove, with a libretto by Alasdair Middleton, commissioned and first performed by Heritage Opera, 30 July – 15 August 2011.

2012: Mansfield Park, stage adaptation by Tim Luscombe, produced by the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, toured the UK in 2012 and 2013.

2014: "From Mansfield with love", web series modernisation produced by Foot in the Door Productions began airing on YouTube.

2016: Mount Hope: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, by Sarah Price.

2017: Seeking Mansfield, a young adult retelling by novelist Kate Watson set in the theater scene of modern-day Chicago.

About the author:

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.  Though she published her works anonymously, Austen was so successful that she enjoyed personal and professional independence uncommon to women in Georgian middle-class society.

She published four novels during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). In these and in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (published together posthumously, 1817), she vividly depicted English middle-class life during the early 19th century. Her novels defined the era’s novel of manners, but they also became timeless classics that remained critical and popular successes two centuries after her death.

 


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